Fab7 Wrap-Up

The final days of Fab7 were stimulating as Wednesday followed the previous day’s platform in participating in two workshops, Thursday was the public Symposium, and Friday was the closing day geared towards concluding what was discussed as well as setting goals for upcoming year.

The workshops I attended on Wednesday were Building Big Things and Flight. Building Big Things was hosted by ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle. This workshop discussed the evolution of ShopBot and the unique ways in which users apply their machines. ShopBot’s user needs range from mass reproduction of a single item to unique one  time designs. The projects showed the array of materials the ShopBot is capable of milling. A few of the projects shown were picture reliefs, boats, Burning Man structures, and houses.

Flight was a very unique workshop to attend. The discussion began with the concept of DIY model airplanes and led into the idea of fab labs building full scale. There are a few fab labs within the network that have some experience with understanding and building flight machines. There were so many enthusiast at this workshop in which the creation of a new fab lab concept was built. The idea that different labs around the world can research and prototype certain components of flight and then those components can be combined in the building of a full, but small scale, aircraft.

Thursday was the public Symposium on Digital Fabrication. It was structured with four sections: Principles, Practices, Applications, and Implications. Most of the presenters were conferenced in through the Fab Lab Network’s polycom.  The Principles presentations were based on the idea of designing organisms with building blocks. The equipment used in this biological endeavor are built in fab labs, allowing for the equipment to be easily supplied to the masses as well as provided in academic research labs. This section closed out with a presentation by Chris Romes of Autodesk in which the direction and intent of Autodesk was displayed.

The Practices section began with a video conference with Chef Dave Arnold. He is using a modified 3d printer to create food. Not in the sense of reproduction of shapes, but with the intent of researching how a rapid prototyping machine could lead to a new way of cooking. The Ultimaker, a 3d printer that you can buy and build, was introduced and the creators discussed the process of its creation. This section also included another presentation on Making Big Things and an introduction to DIY Drones.

The Applications portion revolved around the use of the internet in the digital fabrication world. Your Personal Factory was presented by Derek Elley of Ponoko about turning your ideas into custom goods which can then be fabricated and sold for profit. Marc de Vink of Maker Shed followed with communicating how their site can help users create ideas at any stage of the design process. Not only does Maker Shed have loads of detailed project ideas, but it is also searching for any projects to add to the community, even at the conceptual stage. Zach Kaplan of Inventables introduced his site to the network and officially launched the Inventable’s Workspace.

The Implications section began with a bang as IAAC showed how Fab Labs have taken over the city of Barcelona and created the first ever Fab City. The plans were unveiled for multiple Fab Labs to be completed throughout the city as well as adapted into the school system. Their plan is underway with the intent to extend out of Barcelona to other areas once they are successful. Next, Fab Lab Iceland displayed Fab Lab Wiki and explained the site’s intention for displaying all information for and by fab labs. Links to all the information covered during this year’s Symposium can be found here.

The Symposium concluded with the Fab Academy Graduation and the Inauguration of Fab Lab Lima.

The final day of the Fab7 conference was Friday. In the morning, all the workshops for the week were briefly reviewed. This was followed by the announcement of the locations for Fab8 as New Zealand and Fab9 as Japan. The Final Fab Foos were topics to set goals and make modifications for the upcoming year. I attended a technical session where we discussed the different software used in fab labs as well as the different levels of labs based on a finance and equipment structure.

Fab7 was a motivating event to attend. I am eager to see the development through this current year and see how Fab Labs will adapt to the developments of this week.


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